How To Start Cosplaying | Cosplay Basics

Cosplay. It’s fun, creative, and a great hobby to express your love for a favorite fandom. If you are thinking about cosplaying, but don’t know where to start here are some guidelines that can help motivate you to jump into this hobby.

A video version of this post can be watched below:

If, however, you prefer a written version keep reading below!

#1. Ask yourself “What do you want to get out of cosplaying? What are your goals?”

Whether it’s to improve a skill, meet new people, look badass at a convention, or simply to contribute to a fandom. Ask yourself why you want to start cosplaying. Remember(!) cosplay is suppose to be fun. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, but having a goal to strive towards can be motivating in and of itself.

#2. Pick a character & choose a deadline.

This will likely be a whole separate article, but pick a character you’d like to cosplay as. Things to think about are your budget, free time, skill level, characters you are most interested in/love, and when/where you would like to debut your costume. Also think about the goals that you set for yourself in the previous guideline. If your goal was to meet new people, check if there are at any relevant meetups at a convention that you’d be interested in attending, for example, that you can wear your cosplay too.

If you are a newbie to sewing (like me :)), choose a character where you can easily alter existing garnets is a great start. As you become more familiar with different sewing and prop building techniques, you can start choosing more complicated builds.

For my first cosplay, I cosplayed as Teemo from League of Legends. This was a simple closet cosplay where I utilized clothes that were in my own closet. No sewing required (and it cost me hardly anything)!


If you are having a hard time even thinking of a character you’d like to cosplay as, think about series that you love or characters that you relate to.

You’ll also want to think about a deadline for when you’d like to finish your costume by. Having a deadline will help motivate you to finish your cosplay. Conventions are common due dates, but other deadlines could be photoshoots and costume parties.

#3. Make A Plan & Construct

With your deadline in mind, think about what elements you need to complete your costume and create steps of what needs to be done to create those elements.

Cosplanner is a fantastic app that I use to keep track of my cosplay progress, but an Excel Spreadsheet or a notebook dedicated to cosplay are great ways to stay organized as well.

As mentioned earlier, if this is your first costume try altering existing garmets. Look through your closet or the thrift store for clothes that are similar to what the character is wearing. For my Seryu Ubiqitous cosplay, I had a green coat but the sleeves were too long and the buttons weren’t the right color. To make the coat look more accurate, I swapped out the buttons and shortened the sleeves. Ultimately, this will save you time and money.


Another option is to purchase/commission your costume. Be sure to purchase your costume well in advanced as it can take several weeks or months for commissions to come through. If possible, check reviews of the seller you are purchasing from. For eBay purchases, I personally never purchase from a seller who’s rating is below 99% and doesn’t have a healthy amount of seller reviews. I also try to find sellers who can custom make to my measurements. By following those two guidelines, I have found great success with eBay sellers.


#4 Debut Your Costume

So you’ve completed all the elements of your cosplay and it’s time to show them off! More than anything remember to be confident, don’t take yourself too seriously, and have fun! I recommend taking lots of photos and selfies, so you can easily look back on your first cosplay.

TIP: Before debuting your costume, do a quick test fit of all your cosplay elements together to see how everything looks and if there is anything that needs adjusting. This can be a very rewarding process as you see all your hard work coming together. 🙂

You have now started your cosplay journey.




YouTube: shainadilla

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